In Summary
  • Musai, a retired Inspector of Police, has been using the technology for the last two years and he reckons that it has boosted his yields.
  • Minimal soil disturbance is achieved by ‘digging’ only the section that is planted. This digging ensures breakage of the hardpan on the soil, which forms over time.
  • Johnson Gachuhi, an agricultural officer in Makueni, adding a minor crop is planted between the trenches acting as a cover crop.
  • While the ‘normal’ ploughing is charged at Sh2,000 per acre, Musai pays Sh1,800 for the acre.

Kituku Musai looks keenly as a tractor moves with great ease from one end of his farm in Kiunduni, Makueni, to another.

However, while one expects the equipment attached to the tractor to cut through the soil as is usually the norm, on Musai’s farm the opposite is evident as the 67-year-old prepares to grow new crops during the October short rains.

The machine is digging three shallow trenches for each trip it makes on the one acre. The technology known as ripping involves digging trenches for seed planting without turning up the entire soil.

One then plants in the trenches and uses herbicides to control weeds. Alternatively, they can use a ripper to scratch the top surface of the ground while destroying weeds.

Musai, a retired Inspector of Police, has been using the technology for the last two years and he reckons that it has boosted his yields.

From the acre he used to harvest at most two 90kg bags of green grams while using an oxen to plough it.
But he now harvests an average of six 90kg bags of the same produce.

The technology operates under three principles namely minimum soil disturbance, soil cover and crop rotation.

Minimal soil disturbance is achieved by ‘digging’ only the section that is planted. This digging ensures breakage of the hardpan on the soil, which forms over time.

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